The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The Statue of Liberty is closed indefinitely after Hurricane Sandy’s massive storm surge flooded its New York Harbor home, the New York Daily News reported.

Liberty Island and its historic neighbor, Ellis Island, were both victimized by the record high water level in the harbor as Hurricane Sandy took no mercy on the national landmarks, said National Parks Service spokeswoman Mindy Rambo.

A quick examination showed no damage to the statue and no water damage to the Ellis Island museum, she said. But a team of federal inspectors was due at the two sites Saturday (Nov. 3) to conduct a full assessment of any possible infrastructure problems at the two island sites.

“There was water damage to the Statue of Liberty site,” said Rambo. “We will not know until the team is through exactly how long the site will be closed.”


Meanwhile, the cleanup of Sandy continues across the East Coast.

Rental housing should be abundant enough that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) won’t have to provide trailers to victims of Hurricane Sandy, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said Thursday (Nov. 1).

According to the Homeland Security website, Fugate said FEMA is working to get people in need of shelter into hotels and motels and also assessing who will need longer-term rental assistance during a press call with reporters.

FEMA had already sent out more than $1 million for those programs as of Oct. 31. Those aren’t just approved funds, Fugate said — FEMA has already provided them.

Fugate said he had also been in touch with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has begun to assess needs for interim housing for residents of public housing, especially in Lower Manhattan.

The federal government has also coordinated assistance from utility crews from as far away as California. Transportation Department aircraft will fly some teams and equipment to the East Coast to expedite their arrival, Fugate said.

Additionally, 252 generators from the Army Corps of Engineers had reached hospitals, nursing homes and other large facilities as of Oct. 31, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters.

Hundreds more were en route at that time, she added.

Elsewhere, deep snows and high winds were hampering efforts this morning by Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers to reach an Appalachian Trail hiker seeking help. Click here to read about that rescue effort in National Parks Traveler.

In Virginia, steady work at cleaning up from the snowstorm that Superstorm Sandy deposited on Shenandoah National Park has allowed part of the park to reopen, National Parks Traveler reported.

According to concessionaire ARAMARK, the park this morning was able to reopen the central part of Shenandoah, and both the Big Meadows and Skyland lodges have reopened.

“They are still clearing snow from the north and south exit, so guests are asked to enter through Thornton Gap U.S. 211 or Swift Run Gap U.S. 33 today. All of the park is expected to reopen tomorrow,” a spokeswoman for the concessionaire said.

Neither Big Meadows nor Skyland lodge sustained any damage from the storm. However, the snowfall has prompted a decision to end the two-and-a-half-hour horseback rides for the season. On Monday a decision is expected on whether to resume the hour-long rides.

In Delaware, the state’s Division of Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteers to help clean up storm damage from Hurricane Sandy at Delaware state parks.

Volunteers are needed at parks statewide, from Wilmington to the beaches at the seashore state parks, to help remove downed limbs and debris and to ensure that all public use areas are safe and accessible.

To sign up, call (302) 739-9181 or visit www.destateparks.com/Sandy.